Video Annotation Software

A short overview of various video annotation software:

Anvil by Michael Kipp is a java-based program for storing several layers of annotations, like a text sequencer. Can only use avi files. Intended for gesture research (understood as gestures used when talking).

Transana from University of Wisconsin, Madison, is developed mainly as a tool for transcribing and describing video and audio content. Seems like it is mainly intended for behavioural studies. It is based on writing rtf-files (with optional manual time coding), so not much possibilities for multiple streams etc.

IBM Research – VideoAnnEx Annotation Tool is an advanced annotation tool using MPEG-7 descriptors.

Noldus Observer is a commercial software package for Windows which seems to be very extensive. Allows for multiple camera recording and synchronization as well as data from DAQs.

Converting MPEG-2 .MOD files

I have been struggling with figuring out the easiest way of converting MPEG-2 .MOD files coming out of a JVC Everio HD camera to something else, and finally found a good solution in Squared 5 – MPEG Streamclip which allows for converting these files to more or less all codecs that are available on the system. It is also a good idea to rename the .MOD files to .M2V or .MPG since this will allow QuickTime to play them (without sound, since they are demuxed…) or even better with VLC (with sound!).

MP4 to WMV

I have been struggling with creating video files that are easily playable on both OS X and Windows. Of course it is possible to make an avi with some “ancient” video codec, but that is not very tempting when the new H.264 codec is so nice. Of course, it would be nice if Windows users could use QuickTime, but for those who decline to do so, I found an easy way for converting MPEG-4 files to WMV.


I have been thinking about buying a new video camera. As I start to get very tired of working with dv-tapes, I was curious to check out some of the new hd cameras. Seems like it is still a bit early, as I guess the market will change next year, although this JVC GZ-MC500 camcorder looks very sweet.

A 4GB microdrive seems too small, though, and it is unfortunately disqualified since it doesn’t sport a microphone input.